Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ugly Gun Sunday

Badly drilled for a scope, bolt handle hacked off and replaced, pieces of stock chiseled away, and all on what was probably a battlefield trophy weapon with a nice mum on it. But then, the final masterful touch of the basement customizer:

This was a man who loved his drill press far more than his rifles.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spandex 'n Glitter

As I'm getting ready to head in for my shift at the local clinic, I have some European version of VH1 playing in the background of my billet. Apparently, Earth, Wind, & Fire is considered good morning video fare for facing a new day. I, on the other hand, am left wondering how anyone, at any time, could consider spandex, leopard skin capes, massive pseudo-egyptian jewelry, and cheesy "spacesuit" padded clothing all worn at the same time a really hot fashion statement.

Ugly Gun Sunday

Apparently you may now buy pot metal pistols in custom colors.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Bitter, Religious, Gun-Clinging, Redneck Day

Alternatively known as Patriots' Day to those of us not among the urban elite.

I Wish I Could Write Like That:

Jerry the Geek gives an eloquent smackdown to a troglodyte:

"You don't think about life. You have no philosophy. You are nothing more than a spoiler, willing to criticize the expressions of people with more experience and more hard-learned lessons .. only because you can. Everything you write is less significant than graffiti on the wall of a tavern mens-room, and as likely to be taken seriously. If you ever had an original thought, it would be original only in your own mind, and only because you are too drunk with cheap beer to realize that you are parroting the words of the last person who spoke to you."

A small sample of a written backhand that is probably far above the recipient's ability to understand, but I certainly enjoyed it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Corrupt Commercialism

After a rare day off without a tasking, I now find that apparently there is absolutely nothing made in Egpyt worthy of being featured in commercials. There is, however, an abundance of advertising for the evil, decadent films of the west featuring the numerous immodest females we have in abundance. Also, American television programming is apparently very popular, as are various household products, and Japanese/Korean cars (big surprise there).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ahmed The Demon Barber of North Camp

Things I recently learned, all for the low, low cost of $2.00 and a tip:

Having two barbers but only one customer can cause arguments.

Arabic is a wonderful language for arguing, full of vigor, phlegmy rattles, and hand gestures. It's almost as good as Spanish.

An agitated arguing barber will not pay close attention to his clippers until he notices the blood.

Asking what one word of Arabic means in English gets you over thirty minutes of intense language instruction, with interspersed moments of cutting hair.

Quality language instruction includes comparative religious history.

Quality comparative religion instruction includes a loud and repeated review of prohibited sexual acts.

The body language accompanying the statement "shut up and finish his haircut so we can close up and leave" in Arabic is virtually identical as when spoken in English.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Ugly Gun

Scope too high to get a good stock weld? Been watching too much of the Red Green Show? Because if you use scrap lumber and inner tube to "fix" that stock sighting problem, it's probably time to stop.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Water Is Best Experienced In Showers & Jack Daniels'

I'm off to water survival class phase one in the Red Sea. Phase one, supposedly, is the portion where you're not to likely to drown while learning. According to one participant from last weekend, the highest risk seems to be the unusual number of jellyfish in the training area.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No Thanks, We'll Do It Our Way

Better days: Post-football game, Thanksgiving Day in Iraq, 2003. Don on the viewer's far left.

When its put out that there will be a memorial service for someone that a lot of the unit cared about, I expect something along the order of someone leading a simple service, with friends remembering that person's accomplishments and admirable qualities. When I walk into the designated military chapel and see a circle of chairs, I get very suspicious I'm about to get a surprise critical incident debriefing with the rest of the people who showed up for a memorial service. And when I hear, "Everyone please take a seat and take off your rank. What's said here stays here.", I know I'm in for one.

I don't like CIDs. I personally think they're an exercise in "look at me, I'm suffering, pay attention to me" that gives counselors a reason to be in camp. Apparently, that's what all the other people thought too. Because what we talked about wasn't how his death made us feel, but what we could do to ensure someday his child knew the type of man he was. About his always being up in front to take on a task; never turning down a friend in need; the time he pulled $150 out his own personal account for a homeless Iraq vet to get a hotel room for a couple of nights when he showed up at the VA looking for help. And about how much we regretted that we couldn't have done something for him when he was in so much anguish that he thought the only way out was ending his own life.

There were tears from men I've never seen cry, but there was a hell of a lot more laughter from remembering past times we'd been through with him; I think that's right and proper for a good man. We're National Guard; we drill and deploy with many of the same people year after year. Don had been with us for nearly ten years, and at least half of us had known him that long. At the company level, we're an extended family, and we feel it like a family when when we lose one of ours.

He'll be getting a military funeral in a military cemetery, which he earned in full with his service. In a year, I'll be making a bike trip to say the final good-bye that I can't do from here. In the meantime, there's a letter to write, pictures to copy, and remembrances to collect in a volume for when his child is older.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I Can Feel The Intelligence Leaving My Body.....

When you replace a medical unit in a clinic, it is a good idea to conduct a complete inventory, as things, usually shiny and/or expensive, somehow get "lost" during the transition. Sitting through a review of said complete inventory, some suggestions on what shouldn't have been done:

Assign overall responsibility of the inventory to someone whose experience in a clinic or hospital is only on the receiving end of care. 'Cause right now isn't a good time to find out you don't know the difference between clean vs sterile items, and that they definitely aren't one and the same.

Have fifteen individuals (most of whom fall under the previous sentence) inventory several different areas at the same time, giving their own interpretation of what they think the item should be named, rather than what is on the packaging.

Decide that the stock/reorder numbers on the packaging are extra work to write down, so we'll skip it.

Gather all the individual inventories of cabinets, storage areas, and rooms, hand three or four sheets of them to a different person than the one who compiled the list, and give the following instructions to the assembled group of soldiers, half of whom are not medics:

"I will read the item off my list; I want you to look through your lists and
find stuff that's the same thing but with a
different label, then scratch it out
and replace it with the name I just said."

Which results in an approximate rate of one item named every three to four minutes while receiving personnel look for items that are probably the same thing under a different name. Or in the case of a certain very pissed off medic at this point, asking if they honestly expect him to read the six pages of items in his hand looking for alternatively named items for every individual item listed on the four sheets of paper in the Staff Sergeant's hand.

Insist that rather than using the army naming system of subject, then adjectives in order of general to specific, it will be much easier if the Staff Sergeant Without Clinical Experience names the item, and the rest of you will learn to call it that (e.g., when you have literally twenty types of bandages, it is easier to organize by using the terms bandage (actual item), gauze (most general adjective), 4x4 (more specific), #1333 (most specific); bandage, non-adhesive, 4x4, #2304, etc. than the following : 4x4 gauze (ok, which one? The sterile individual 4x4, the bulk pack of clean but non-sterile 4x4 gauze, or the individual sterile 4x4 non-adhesive dressing that you call gauze because you've never seen or used them before?) rolled gauze (the three or four inch wide? Which length? What reorder number? Because the supply sergeant is going to ask you exactly that.))

Above all, DO NOT POINT OUT IN PUBLIC that if the stock numbers had been included, everything could have been sorted on the spreadsheet in minutes with duplicates listed along side each other, enabling consolidation in less than an hour by one person. Pointing out the number of man-hours lost with current method vs suggested method will also result in unwanted individual attention.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Damn It

Just finished PT, get back in the barracks, and get told a friend from the Iraq deployment killed himself yesterday. Shit, shit, shit. Not even 30 yet, a daughter from his marriage that ended during Iraq left behind, and a lot of friends that didn't even know he was hurting.

God Damnit, why?

Sunday Ugly Gun

Good call! I too am almost positive that's not an issue bolt handle.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Few Local Problems

I've been working in the clinic on post for about two weeks now, and I've noticed the following:

There's a definite need for the sign above. Most of what comes in for emergency treatment is gastroenteritis. Usually with some noticeable dehydration, resulting in a visit from me and an 18 guage needle. We go through saline faster than anything else in the clinic.

Space is a little tight around here. What you see here is medical records. All of it. Oh yes, and a picture of the entire staff of medical records.

Dust is a major problem. This post is the only green spot for a long ways around, and dust gets in everything. The picture above was taken after I'd cleaned one of the five lights, and this is in the ER/treatment room, one of the cleanest rooms we have. Then again, most this dust was on the inside of the glass, so we'll see how long it stays clean.

A particularly unpleasant problem: Leishmaniasis. Nasty stuff resulting from sandfly bites that take a lot of work to resolve. This particular soldier is from Fiji, and probably received his bites out on the remote observation outposts. I've been told that U.S. soldiers who have this happen in Iraq get a trip to Walter Reed for care. This individual will have to make do with what we can do for him here.

Being bored won't be a problem during the work day around here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

How Appropriate

That this story: Reports: F1 prez was in Nazi hooker orgy would fall on April Fool's day. If it weren't for libel laws, I'd have serious problems believing someone this high-profile would be stupid enough to indulge their perversity.